At 24, David Gaudu endorsed for the first time the bib of a leader on a Grand Tour, the Vuelta, which ended this Sunday with the coronation of Roglic. Pinot’s lieutenant at Groupama-FDJ, scheduled to succeed him one day, reassured himself about his ability to withstand this pressure. Notably with his two great victories in the 11th and 17th stages.
What will you take away from this first Tour in the shoes of a leader?
DAVID GAUDU. That I had teammates ready to place their trust in me. It’s already huge to feel that. I also made progress in recovery after the stages. For the first time, I had to spend time after the stages to express myself. Usually it’s Thibaut (Editor’s note: Pinot) who took care of it. It’s a waste of energy but it’s part of the game. I try to stay natural while forging myself a shell because, when you are put forward, there is necessarily a share of criticism. People do not always understand that, at certain stages where we are less well, we had to manage. Then, I also learned to be respected in a peloton.
In what way?
Respect is earned by riding in front of the peloton with the full team. You have to be present in hot moments like edging on the flat, showing that I know how to go down. And my first stage victory helped me. Between the start of the Vuelta and the end, it became easier for me to navigate the peloton. The look on me has changed. The differences that I might have had with certain opponents have eased.
It is often said that you will be Thibaut Pinot’s successor. Will there be a sharing of responsibilities next year on the Tour?
We haven’t given much thought to that for next year. There, I focused on this Vuelta. The Grand Départ of the Tour next year in Brittany makes you want to be there. These are roads that I know by heart. The first two stages are 15 km from my parents’ place. Mûr-de-Bretagne is our Alpe-d’Huez, where the public is constantly pushing.
Pinot also won two stages in the Vuelta in 2018. Have you become a French cycling champion?
A champion, I don’t know. It is still too early to tell. Winning two stages anyway, it’s huge. Before the start of the stage on Saturday, I remembered those who had won two stages in the Vuelta, including Thibaut. I said to myself: “Why not me? »I love the rain and the cold and I went there on my instinct to live an exceptional day.
You also finished 8th in this Tour of Spain …
Yes. With the two stage wins, the Vuelta was already successful, but entering the Top 10 of a grand Tour makes it even better. I can go on vacation with peace of mind.
Did something bother you during this Tour of Spain?
Yes. When I won the stage ahead of Marc Soler, someone pointed out to me that he and I both won the Tour de l’Avenir: him in 2015 and me the following year. And I was asked if we were not the symbols of a generation that lost its place in the face of the emergence of Evenepoel, Pogacar or Bernal. It is hurtful and it stings to the quick. As if, at 24, I was already in the trash. I felt denigrated. But a professional cycling career doesn’t start at 19 and last for three years! It’s just that there are real matches between the new generation and the 30-something. But my progress is not over! I still have plenty of races to go and win. Those who won the Tour at 21, what will they have left as they want to go higher?
Do you dare to say that you dream of winning the Tour de France?
We have the right to have dreams. So, yes I say: “I dream of winning the Tour. »Will I get there? This is an other story. But I want to try.
Are you ready to hear that you may be Bernard Hinault’s French successor?
I’ve heard it before. I’m Breton, that doesn’t help (smiles). Lots of people have had this label before me and others will still have it behind. You have to get over that because it doesn’t save you money. For now, I just think there will be a before and an after Vuelta for me. It clicked. I wanted to know if I could do a Grand Tour with a team behind me. I saw. I knew how to rub in a peloton but not necessarily win stages at the end. There, I got there.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr